thebigword’s new partnership to bring better service to the Deaf community

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is teaming up with global language services firm thebigword to improve the patient experience for Deaf and hard of hearing patients.

The Trust, which runs the Royal Victoria and Freeman Hospitals as well as the Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle Dental Hospital, Centre for Ageing and Vitality and Community Services is aiming to improve access to their services for Deaf patients.
Deaf patients have highlighted challenges in accessing services and such barriers to access can take many forms, whether it be needing an interpreter to talk to a doctor, or just making sense of the NHS leaflets and website information.

To overcome the barriers, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are pleased to announce they have teamed up with thebigword partner, Sign Solutions, to enable Deaf patients to properly discuss issues, in their first or preferred language; British Sign Language. Interpreters can be on-site, or accessed live, and on demand, via their video interpreting system, InterpretersLive! for speedy or urgent treatments.

For the NHS, the video interpreting system enables profoundly Deaf patients to have instant access to a clinician in person at the Trust, or over the phone, through a qualified and registered British Sign Language interpreter. This allows vital information to be communicated simply and on demand 24/7. The system essentially removes the communication barriers for Deaf people by giving them the freedom and independence to communicate with, and access, the services provided by their local NHS Trust.

Deaf patients will also be able to contact the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust by following the link on the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals’ website at

Sean Nicholson, CEO of Sign Solutions, said:
“I am delighted that Newcastle NHS Trust has taken these steps to make themselves accessible to the Deaf community. Most NHS trusts provide interpreters for scheduled appointments but Newcastle has taken the accessibility standard one step further to allow Deaf people to actually call them in their first language, maybe just to change or cancel an appointment. It also makes the lives of Deaf people easier and gives them equality of access to the NHS.

Larry Gould, CEO of thebigword said:
“We work with some excellent partners and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to bring in Sign Solutions to lend their expertise to Newcastle NHS Trust. Breaking down communication barriers isn’t always about providing foreign language support – making sure that those with different needs are able to fully access vital medical services is so important – and this partnership means those with hearing difficulties will be able to do just that. We’re really excited to be working on this new system with the Trust and with our partners at Sign Solutions and we hope other organisations will see the benefit and take advantage as well.”

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